From the time Alderson was but a
wilderness the Greenbrier was forded above and below the present bridge.
In 1789 by legislative grant from the
Virginia assembly to Elder John Alderson a ferry across the river was
established. This ferry was just below the present location of the
railroad station. On old maps the place is named Alderson's Ferry.
Greenbrier County Court records show
that the County Court considered building a bridge across the river in the
July term 1878. It approached the Monroe County Court to bear one-half of
the expense estimated at $14,000. The two county courts seemingly did not
get along very well, and it was not until the July term 1881 that
agreement was reached. Two sub-commissioners of the Courts were
appointed, Samuel Price and James Withrow, who agreed on specifications,
engineering and letting of the contract. The Pittsburgh Bridge Company,
Pittsburgh, Pa., got the contract to build the bridge for $11,900.00. They
must have quickly built the bridge by 1882, as in that year an abutment
was not satisfactory according to the court records.
The iron bridge was frequently in
disrepair. The minutes of the Town Council show the Council was often
fussing at the two County Courts to do something about it. On August 8,
1913, the Council authorized consultation with the County Courts about
constructing a new bridge of concrete. In February 1914, the Greenbrier
County Court ordered the Town of Alderson to repair the old iron bridge.
Town Council was indignant and flatly refused saying the town had not
built the old bridge, had no authority to repair the bridge, that
townspeople had paid taxes to help build all other county bridges, and
finally the river was not the property of the town, but was State
In April 1914, the County Courts of
Greenbrier and Monroe agreed to build a new bridge without sidewalks. On
May 5, 1914, Mayor McNeer issued a proclamation for a bond issue election
of from $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 to be held May 26. the vote was 191 for, 2
against, for one sidewalk, and 186 for, 2, against, for two sidewalks.
The Concrete Steel Bridge Co., Clarksburg, W. Va., had a contract to build
the bridge for $20,600.00. On October 30, 1914, a contract was made with
the company to build the two sidewalks for $2900.00. So, the roadway
belonged to the State and the sidewalks belonged to the town.
The bridge has served for 50 years.
It is narrow, dilapidated and a danger to pedestrians. The sides are just
high enough so that automobile passengers cannot see the magnificent view,
east of west, of the beautiful Greenbrier.
A new bridge is badly need but cannot
be planned until a final decision is made of the location of Interstate
Highway 64. (More on
The contents contained in this series is copyrighted
and the sole property of
Historical Society - Lewisburg, WV
Used by permission - November 18, 2008